Welcome to Front & Center, a series highlighting front of the house professionals in Atlanta restaurants. To end the feature, here are two reader-submitted entries.
Right now, Jeanne Shingleton writes about beverage director Kevin Ryan and bartender Ross Shaffer of Local Three and journalist Dana Hazels Seith talks about Sujaree Hewitt, co-owner of Spoon:
The bartenders who keep me coming back time and again are Kevin Ryan and Ross Shaffer at Local Three. As the bar manager, Kevin runs an excellent beverage program and is truly one of the most creative and intuitive bartenders I've ever seen. I rarely order a cocktail off the menu but instead ask Kevin to just come up with something. Nine times out of ten, he hits the nail on the head even if the drink is way too complicated for him to make on a regular basis. And that creativity makes the Local Three bar much more fun than other comparable places in Atlanta. Kevin also has a passion for his work and a desire to make the time you spend at his bar memorable, which shows in the amount of time he is willing to spend with each patron.
Ross is just one of those guys who you want to spend time with. Unfailingly nice and professional, he pours a wonderful drink with a great attitude every single time I go to the bar. Under Kevin's guidance, Ross is developing his own interesting contributions to Local Three's drink menu. These guys are truly some of the best out there, so do yourself a favor and go pay them a visit!
Spoon Eastside is a neighborhood spot my husband and I walk to often for carryout. Not only is it one of our favorite restaurants in the city, Sujaree Hewitt who manages the FOH is such a delight. She works alongside both her younger sister, Chef Aim, and younger brother, Wind, for the best Thai in town. You can really tell this is a close-knit family's labor of love.
While we dine-in sometimes, where we've really gotten to know Sujaree is with our carryout service (which we do often). Every call in order she remembers what we want down to the pot stickers and what level of spice we like things. Now that I'm pregnant she knows not to put any bean sprouts on my pad Thai and will double check things if our order veers off the usual — like, "Oh you're getting chicken this time instead of tofu."
Sujaree is super sweet, knows my husband and I when we walk in and such a great representation of all they are doing at Spoon. We adore the food there, but keep going back just as much for the service.
—Dana Hazels Seith, danapop